Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Committee of the Whole (WL Council) Meeting Highlights - August 31st


Mayor Cook and Councillors Barr, Bourdon, Herbert, Rathor, Walters and Zacharias

Staff Present:

Brian Carruthers – Chief Administrator
Wendy Dalman – Corporate Services Clerk
Cindy Bouchard – Manager of Legislative Services
Annie McKitrick – Acting Manager of Social Development

Minutes of August 24th Special Committee of the Whole Meeting adopted


1) Audrey MacLise (Williams Lake & Area Seniors’ Advisory Council) appeared before the Committee to discuss use of the Cariboo Lodge Site

Discussion Points with the Committee:

• Read aloud the June 30th, 2010 Senior Advisory Council letter to Williams Lake Council - read their letter here
• Retirement Concepts (WL Seniors’ Village) has lowered their single unit rent
• Other facilities (apartments, etc) should look into lower their rents, make their facility more senior/accessibility friendly to adequately address their vacancy rates
• Prepared to do the background work if Council is prepared to support-in-principle the need to plan for adequate seniors’ housing options in Williams Lake

A Question & Answer period ensued
Mayor Cook, on behalf of the Committee, thanked Ms. MacLise for her presentation

Committee Action – Committee of the Whole asked Staff to prepare a housing options report, with as much info as possible, for the September 14th Committee of the Whole Meeting

2) Fred McMechan, Sue Hemphill and Katherine VanSpall (WL Field Naturalists) appeared before the Committee to discuss increased funding of the Scout Island Nature Centre

Discussion points with the Committee:

• Services provided to the community and visitors – nature trails, boat launch
• Less funding starting next year & Loss of Katimavik
• Request of $40,000 but hopeful that other grants and fundraising will come through. Noted that the Cariboo-Chilcotin Museum receives both City of WL/CRD financial support

A Question and Answer Period ensued
Mayor Cook, on behalf of the Committee, thanked Mr. McMechan, Ms. Hemphill and Ms. VanSpall for their presentation

Committee Action – Committee of the Whole recommends:

The funding request of the WL Field Naturalists be referred to the Central Cariboo Joint Committee for consideration


1) Stampede Association Lease Request

Councillor Rathor (Recreation Portfolio Chair) discussed his report with the Committee
Discussion ensued thereon

Committee Action – Committee of the Whole recommends:

Council support, in principle, the request of the Stampede Association to have the ball field in the middle of the Stampede Grounds incorporated into their existing Lease, pending submission of a plan for the area to be approved by Council; and further, that Council designate the former Men’s Fastball lease area as ‘Common Area’ within the Stampede Park and permit Stampede Park tenants to use the area as required for their events

2) Support for Retaining the Long-Form version of the Canadian Census

Councillor Hebert (Social Services Portfolio Chair) reviewed her report with the Committee
Discussion ensued thereon

Committee Action – Committee of the Whole recommends:

Council send a letter to FCM (Federation of Canadian Municipalities’) and to the Federal Government making portions of the long/short census mandatory; and further, this resolution be forwarded to all Union of British Columbia Municipalities member municipalities, all BC MP’s, the Prime Minister and the federal Minister responsible for the Census

Meeting adjourned and Council reconvened In-Camera (Section 90(1c) of the Community Charter – labour issues)

Vancouver Media Hit List & Vancouver City Hall

Usually, I don't report directly on matters concerning Vancouver City Hall (but I do read blogs that cover Vancouver City Hall)

Over at Alex G. Tsakumis's blog - there is apparently a media hit list of 15 persons or organizations who cover Vancouver City Hall.  Probably because of the stories over Vancouver City Hall's renovations among other things.  Very unfortunate that Vision Vancouver can't stand a little criticism.  Hopefully, this comes back to bite both Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson & Vision Vancouver's butts.  This certainly will make the 2011 Vancouver General Civic Election very interesting to observe and follow.  Could we see the complete wipe-out of Vision Vancouver's hold on Vancouver City Council.....I would suggest that it is very possible

You can read the blog entry here

City resident wins big in Province's "You Gotta Be Here" contest

Lisa Faulds of Williams Lake has won a BBQ for the entire City in the Province of BC's "You Gotta to Be Here" contest

See more here

Woodland Jewellers 77th Anniversary & Cariboo Foundation Hospital Trust

Woodland Jewellers, like last year, is donating the proceeds from the ticket raffle of its' 77th Anniversary ring to the Cariboo Foundation Hospital Trust.  Williams Lake City Councillor Geoff Bourdon is involved with the formation of this 77th Anniversary ring

See more here

Premier of BC lays low on HST

Vancouver Province Political Columnist Micheal Smyth reviews in his column why the Premier may have decided to lay low on the HST this summer

See the article here

Campfire Bans eliminated in all of BC

This morning, the Province announced that the campfire ban will be lifted for the Coastal Fire Center at noon tomorrow.  The bans have already been lifted in the Northwest, Prince George and Cariboo Fire Centers.

If the rainy weather were to go away, there is still time to enjoy that last bit of summer in the backcountry before it gets too cool at night, here in the Cariboo-Chilcotin

Voter Alienation in Rural BC on HST....?

Vancouver Sun Political Columnist Vaughn Palmer looks at the Anti-HST Petition results and publically speculates on whether or not this means trouble for the governing BC Liberals in rural BC later on this year and into next with recall campaigns starting as early as Monday, November 15th

See the article here

Quesnel Council Highlights - Aug 30th meeting

Fire department set to celebrate

The Quesnel Volunteer Fire Department celebrates 100 years of service this Labour Day weekend. Council was invited to a variety of activities by Fire Chief Ric Raynor. A parade of fire apparatus, including antique machines from around B.C. is planned for Saturday Sept. 4 starting at 11 a.m. The parade, led by the Royal Canadian Legion Pipe Band, starts at the corner of Carson Avenue and Reid Street, proceeds to St. Laurent Avenue, over to Kinchant Street and down to the Royal Canadian Legion.
The group will then proceed to Alex Fraser Park to join with the Fall Fair activities. The public is also invited to an Open house at the downtown fire hall on Friday Sept. 3 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. to meet the men and women who provide fire protection for our community.

Water report reviewed

Council reviewed the 2009 City of Quesnel Drinking Water Report. The report describes the system and the overall results of water quality testing during 2009. Some points of interest in the report include:
* Water use in 2009 increased by about three per cent over 2008.
* Monitoring system software upgrades allow staff to view real-time data and changing water system conditions, including well conditions and reservoir levels.
* 313 samples were taken; after re-sampling five initial exceedences, there were no coliform or E. Coli found in the City's drinking water.
* The April 2009 Boil Water Advisory in South Quesnel was found to be a case in which proper sampling procedure was not followed (a resident supplied a sample that was submitted directly to the lab for testing.
After re-sampling and testing, no problems were found).
The City's water system is made up of six wells, eight reservoirs, five booster pump stations, two main pressure reducing valve systems and about 100 kilometres of water mains.
The entire report may be viewed on the City's website (http://www.city.quesnel.bc.ca)

Other News

* Council approved a development permit and Sign Bylaw variance for Husky Oil Ltd. at 498 Front St. The improvements to be made include: a new, standard-height gas bar canopy; re-painting the building; new lighted signs; and the addition of several non-lighted wall boards.
* Council declined an application for a permissive property tax exemption. The Quesnel Community Living Association applied for an exemption on its property at 658 Doherty Dr. The decision was based on the fact that the QCLA is funded largely by the provincial government and the City is already over its self-prescribed limit for tax exemptions ($75,000 or 0.625% of the total tax levy).
* Council received word that the Quesnel Community Fund endowment has grown to $800,000. The QCF awarded more than $24,000 in grants this year.
* The Quesnel Communities in Bloom Committee named the winners of the 2010 Council Over a Planter competition. Mayor Mary Sjostrom took first place, with Coun. Coralee Oakes (whose planter was created by staffer and committee liaison Sandy Brunt) in second and CiB Chair, Coun.
Laurey-Anne Roodenburg in third. The event was part of Quesnel's entry in the international category.
* The Miss Quesnel Self Development Program 2009 royalty were thanked by Council for their service during the past year. Miss Quesnel Sahara Mistry and princesses Amanda Woods and Sydney Sankey were outstanding community ambassadors during their reign. Ms. Sankey is also BC Ambassador for 2010.

Important Dates:

Friday, September 3 - 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. - Fire hall #1 Open House September 11 - Quesnel Downtown Association's End of Summer celebration at the Spirit Square.

Sunday, September 19 - Terry Fox Run


September 2010 - Big Brothers/Big Sisters Month

Future Quesnel Council or Joint Committee Meeting Dates:

Next Delegation Meeting:
Tuesday, September 7

Next Regular Council Meeting:
Monday, September 13

Next North Cariboo Joint Planning Committee Meeting:
Tuesday, September 14

Next Committee of the Whole Meeting:
Monday, September 20

Minister of State for Mining in Williams Lake last Thursday

Randy Hawes (Minister of State - Mining) along with John Winters (President/CEO - BC Chambers of Commerce) were in Williams Lake last week discussing mining and the proposed Prosperity Mine

See stories here and here on their visit

Saturday, August 28, 2010

New Master Site Plan for remainder of Cariboo Lodge site

At Tuesday's Williams Lake Committee of the Whole Meeting - Audrey MacLise and representatives from the Williams Lake & Area Seniors' Advisory Council will be in attendance to discuss with Williams Lake Council about the need to have a master site plan for the Cariboo Lodge site.  This is a commitment that Mayor Cook should have made to the Seniors' Advisory Council, when she met with them in March of 2009 prior to the lease arrangements with the Canadian Mental Health Association for Heritage House

The letter from the Seniors' Advisory Council dated June 30th (see the letter here) rightly points that the entire Cariboo Lodge should have been restricted to seniors' use and I note that people like George Atamanenko has said, in the past, that a plan that accommodates a mixture of uses that focuses on seniors' needs on-site would be appropriate to consider

I look forward to seeing what Committee of the Whole decides to recommend to Williams Lake Council on this item

Local Government Meetings in Cariboo-Chilcotin. Week of August 30 - September 3

There are 3 local government meetings this week in the Cariboo-Chilcotin:

Monday, August 30th - City of Quesnel

Regular Meeting which starts at 7:00pm in Quesnel Council Chambers (410 Kinchant Street)

See the Agenda/Reports here

Tuesday, August 31st - City of Williams Lake

Committee of the Whole Meeting which starts at 6:00pm in Committee Room #1 at Williams Lake City Hall (450 Mart Street)

See the Agenda/Reports here

Thursday, September 2nd - Cariboo Regional District

Regular Board Meeting which starts at 9:30am in the CRD Boardroom (180 North 3rd Avenue - opposite 7-11)

See the Agenda/Reports here

Friday, August 27, 2010

Comments on Blog Postings to be reviewed

This morning, I have enabled my Comment Moderation option.  Most media websites (WL Tribune, CBC, Vancouver Sun & Province) have this type of option enabled on their on-line stories

I had hoped not to go down this road however with regard to my blog post on the City of WL CAO yesterday, 1 comment was more personal then what I would consider "fair criticism".  The 2 remaining comments on it are what I like to call "fair game" however the first one was not

I would note that when I blogged on the situation at Columneetza Secondary on anti-homophobia events, the 5 different comments on that blog post were respectful and polite, even when the criticism was leveled at me personally

If comments I receive to my blog posts are fair game (polite in criticizing the blog poster), then I will consider removing the comment moderation.  I can tolerate fair and justified criticisms towards myself and others but I will now review comments on blog entries to ensure it doesn't go too far before I agree to post them

A democratic society requires a free flow on debate on matters but that debate must also be civilized and that it not be too personalized.  

City of Williams Lake report out on local carbon emissions

From the City of Williams Lake:

Mayor Kerry Cook and Williams Lake Council are pleased to announce that the City of Williams Lake has officially completed the 2008 and 2009 Corporate Emissions Inventories. These inventories are the first of four steps that the City will take in order to become Carbon Neutral by 2012, as per the Climate Action Charter.

The results of the inventory showed that City produced 1382 tons of greenhouse gas emissions in 2009. Buildings produced 60 percent of the municipal emissions, followed by the municipal fleet (25 percent), corporate waste (9 percent), water and sewage (5 percent), and street lights (1 percent).
The three top sources of emissions were Natural Gas (with 755 tons of emissions), Diesel (200 tons), and Electricity (148 tons).  The completed inventory was submitted for Milestone 1 recognition by Partners for Climate Protection, of which the City of Williams Lake recently received membership. This step is the first of five milestones that the City committed to through PCP membership.

Mayor Kerry Cook commented, “In completing Milestone 1, the City of Williams Lake has really stepped up to their commitment to become Carbon Neutral. The PCP Milestones are a great way for the City to reach our provincial goal and to show sustainable leadership throughout the municipalities of BC and Canada”.
The City of Williams Lake is also please to announce that the Provincial Climate Action Charter has extended an invitation to the City to be a part of the SmartTool Pilot Project, a tool that is being branded as ‘the future of provincial emissions data compilation’. The City looks forward to piloting a program that will be both beneficial to the City and to municipalities across BC.

BC Chamber of Commerce President talks Prosperity Mine

Yesterday, both John Winters (President - BC Chambers of Commerce) & Randy Hawes (BC's Minister of State for Mining) were at yesterday's (Thursday) WL & District Chamber of Commerce special lunch discussing mining and the proposed Prosperity mine

Here's a short 3 minute video (from Williams Lake Tribune) on John Winter speaking on what a "yes" and "no" vote on Prosperity would mean.  See the video here 

Provincial Government Grants for Human & Social Services and Public Safety in Cariboo-Chilcotin

Victoria announced this morning the recent round of gaming grants for Human & Social Services and Public Safety for the Province.  A total of $8.1 million was doled out for different groups in the Province

Here in the Cariboo-Chilcotin, the following groups got a share of that $8.1 million:

Big Lake total: $23,000

Big Lake Community Association, $23,000

Williams Lake total: $521,425

Scouts Canada - 5th Williams Lake, $3,000

Williams Lake & District Crime Stoppers Association, $5,600

Navy League of Canada #202 (Chilcotin Branch), $9,625

Williams Lake Lioness Club, $16,800

Lions Club of Williams Lake, $17,000

Knights of Columbus #4785, $20,000

Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society, $25,000

Central Cariboo Hospice Palliative Care Society, $25,000

Williams Lake Daybreak Rotary Club, $25,000

Shrine Club #26 - Cariboo, $29,000

Contact Women's Group Society, $40,000

Kiwanis Club of Williams Lake, $46,400

Jubilee Care/ Canadian Mental Health Association-Williams Lake Branch, $66,100

Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Williams Lake, $75,000

Cariboo Chilcotin Child Development Centre Association, $117,900

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mountain Pine Beetle & Tweedsmuir Park

Opinion 250.com Editor Ben Meisner reviews why the Province is dealing with the Mountain Pine Beetle and wicked wildfires and how it could have been prevented, back in 1994

See more here

BC Auditor General vs BC Liberals on LocalMotion fund

In today's Vancouver Sun, political columnist Vaughn Palmer talks about the provincial Auditor General's concerns with the province's "LocalMotion" fund set in 2007

See more here

BC NDP, New Port Mann Bridge and continued hypocrisy

In today's Vancouver Province, political columist Micheal Smyth points out the continued hypocrisy on the BC NDP's position on the new Port Mann Bridge

See more here

Local News You Can Use

In the WL Tribune today:

* Anahim Chief Joe Alphonse says "Thanks, but no thanks" to a revenue-sharing agreement on the proposed Prosperity Mine, west of Williams Lake.  See more here

* 10 MLA's (6 BC Liberal & 4 BC NDP) on the Select Standing Committee on Legislative Initiatives will meet on Wednesday, September 8th to select a Chair/Deputy Chair and to determine next steps on the HST Intiative Petition.  See more here

* Tribune columnist Walt Cobb talks about BC NDP/HST & hypocrisy.  See more here

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mackenzie Avenue Rehab Project - Weekly Update

I'm glad to see the City of Williams Lake resume its' weekly update on the Mackenzie Avenue Rehab Project, after a 2 week break. 

Work Currently Underway:

• Paving is currently underway in the area north of Comer Street, known as Section D. The first two asphalt lifts on the southbound lane are underway and traffic is being moved onto the new mat as soon as possible.
• Brief interruptions to driveway access may be necessary for businesses along the river valley side of Mackenzie. When paving of the top lift begins, temporary closures of side streets in this area may be necessary.
• Milling is underway in the north section of Mackenzie near the energy plant, in preparation for paving. The Ball Pit on Soda Creek Road is currently receiving all milling material.
• Drainage improvements have begun between Highway 97 and 20, in the Beaver Valley Feeds area. This will include installing pipe and manholes to capture runoff, eliminating the ditches along the north side of the street.
• Improvements at the intersection of Oliver Street and Mackenzie are now wrapping up.

The City of Williams Lake CAO

A Chief Administrative Officer or CAO is the senior Staff member in a local government and is the key person between the local government (muncipal council or regional district board) and muncipal staff/workers.  The CAO is the primary advisor to local governments, providing both business, legal and procedural advice to Council or Regional District Boards', whenever the need arises.  I'd like to point out that we have some very good CAO's here in the Cariboo-Chilcotin.  Those CAO's include Byron Johnson as City Manager for Quesnel and Janis Bell who works as CAO for the Cariboo Regional District.  We have a decent CAO in Brian Carruthers, here in Williams Lake.  My experience is that these CAO's when directly asked a question by the public are only too pleased to assist

Most times, contact between Staff and the public does not involve the CAO unless it is the result of an appeal of a lower staff member's decision or where discussions, between the public and local government staff, requires the expertise of the CAO.  Most CAO's do not get involved in a direct way whenever the public writes or emails local government members (Mayors, Councillors and Electoral Area Directors and Regional District Chairs)

This past Sunday, I wrote to Mayor and Council - City of Williams Lake regarding a concern I had on communicating out on the Mackenzie Avenue Rehab Project and also the financial request of Scout Island.  See that blog post here

However, prior to last night's (Tuesday, Aug 24) Council meeting, Brian Carruthers (City of WL CAO) met me in front of the entrance doors to Williams Lake City Hall and expressed his opinion, in public, that he was offended, with regard to the email I sent to Williams Lake Mayor & Council for the following reasons:

1) It was "over the line"
2) It was unrealistic for City Staff to man the CRD-City of WL Joint EOC last week and plan for the possible evacuation of the City and continue to report on progress on the Mackenzie Avenue Project, given Staff were manning the Joint EOC, some on holidays and City engineering Staff were all tied up with planning for the possible evacuation of the City, if that possible eventuality had to be implemented

While I don't take issue if Mr. Carruthers does not agree with emails or letters that I may send to the City of WL Mayor & Councillors', if he felt obliged to raise concerns with me, with regard to emails/letters that I or anyone else has sent to Mayor and Council, he should have heeded the example of his predecessor, Alberto DeFeo and did the following:

1) Approached myself or any one else and ask that we/they meet in private in regard to a letter or email that I or someone else may have recently sent to Mayor and Council

2) Review the email/letter in private between the CAO and the email/letter writer

This allows for the frank conversation between the CAO and the email/letter writer in private and doesn't cause public embarrasement for either the CAO or the email/letter writer

CAO's, as a general rule, need to be cautious, like other City Staff, around their relationship with the public, lest the public, as a whole, complain to Council, who may have to take up the matter with City Staff who would then review their conduct, in a closed Council meeting, and that review may not be helpful for the staff member's morale. 

This is one reason why local government usually, but not always, have both Staff and members of Council go through "Customer Service Training", to ensure Staff see that their political bosses are going through the same training they are and also to remind City Staff & Members of the Local Government that the public gets treated with the absolute respect they deserve - after all, it is the public that pays the bills...

Quesnel News...

Quesnel Council and CUPE 1050 are now headed into mediated talks for a new collective agreement, reports Quesnel Cariboo Observer. See more here

Also - The Wolf/The Rush is reporting this morning that Byron Johnson, City Manager for the City of Quesnel is leaving for a new post as Chief Administrator for the Resort Municipality of Sun Peaks, near Kamloops. I personally wish him the very best in his new role. He was a good City Manager for Quesnel and I wish Quesnel Council the very best in finding Mr. Johnson's replacement

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Special WL Committee of the Whole Meeting - August 24th Highlights


Mayor Cook and Councillors Barr, Bourdon, Herbert, Rathor, Walters and Zacharias

Staff Present:

Brian Carruthers – Chief Administrator
Geoff Goodall – General Manager of Planning & Operations
Rena Schill – Corporate Services Records Management Coordinator
Annie McKitrick – Acting Social Development Manager

Meeting called to order at 6:57pm

Minutes of July 27th COW Meeting adopted


1) Ken Day from the UBC-Alex Fraser Research Forest appeared before the Committee to discuss the Williams Lake Community Forest Draft Statements of Intent & Process

A DVD Presentation on Community Forests was played for the Committee

A Question and Answer Period ensued
Mayor Cook, on behalf of the Committee, thanked Mr. Day for his presentation

Committee Action – Draft Statements of Intent received


1) 2nd Quarter Report

The CAO reviewed his report with the Committee
Discussion ensued thereon

Major Points:

• Review of Budget Numbers to date
• Review of Mayor & Councillors budget numbers to date
• Review of Progress on Council Goals, Work on Capital Plan, etc to date

Committee Action – 2nd Quarter Report received for information

2) Interim Financial Statements – 1st and 2nd Quarter of 2010

The CAO reviewed the Director of Financial Services report with the Committee
Discussion ensued thereon

Committee Action – Committee of the Whole recommends:

That Council receive the June 30, 2010 Interim Financial Statements Report, including the Revenue and Expenditure Statements and Schedules for the six-month period ended June 30, 2010, for information

3) Adoption of Integrated Community Sustainability Planning Framework

The General Manager of Planning & Operations reviewed the ICSP Coordinator’s report with the Committee
Discussion ensued thereon

Committee Action – Committee of the Whole recommends:

Council adopt the Imagine Our Future – Integrated Community Sustainability Planning Framework as the overarching document for the City that will guide the development of other policies, plans, projects, practices and procedures.

4) Expansion of HandyDART in City of Williams Lake in September 2010

The CAO reviewed his report with the Committee
Discussion ensued thereon

Committee Action – Committee received report of the CAO regarding the expansion of HandyDART in the City of Williams Lake

5) LATE ITEM – Wood First Conference in Whistler

The CAO reviewed this item with the Committee
Discussion ensued thereon

Committee Action - Committee of the Whole recommends:

Council authorize the Public Works & Development Services Portfolio Chair or her alternate to attend the “Living & Building with Wood-First” Conference in Whistler, BC on September 9th and 10th, 2010

Meeting adjourned at 8:32pm

WL Council Meeting Highlights - August 24th


Mayor Cook and Councillors Barr, Bourdon, Hebert, Rathor, Walters and Zacharias

Staff Present:

Brian Carruthers - Chief Administrator
Geoff Goodall - General Manager of Planning and Operations
Tom Chung - IT Manager
Annie McKitrick - Acting Social Development Manager

Council adopted the August 10th meeting minutes


1) Janice Breck from the Suicide/Sudden Death Committee – Cariboo-Chilcotin Canadian Mental Health Association appeared before Council to discuss World Suicide Prevention Day Events on September 10, 2010 in Boitanio Park

2) Imogen Thompson, the City’s Greenhouse Gas Planning Assistant, gave a presentation to Council on the local Greenhouse Gas Inventory. Council received this presentation for information


1) Council denied the written request of Shogun Martial Arts for financial sponsorship for a competition in Portugal in October 2010.

2) Council authorized the advertising, promotion and retailer information for the Toilet Incentive Rebate Program to be handled by the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society.

3) Council awarded the contract for the Wastewater Lagoon De-watering Project to Lambourne Environmental Ltd. for the tendered price of $618,233, excluding HST rebate

4) DVP #5 (Mackay Electric Ltd – Parking Variance) and DVP #6 (Thompson Rivers University – Sign Variance) were received by Council and referred to the Advisory Planning Commission for review/recommendations to Council.

During consideration of DVP #6-2010, Mayor Cook declared a conflict of interest, due to TRU being Mayor Cook's employer and Acting Mayor (Councillor) Geoff Bourdon took the Chair at 6:36pm

Mayor Cook resumed the Chair at 6:37pm

5) Council proclaimed September 10, 2010 as "World Suicide Prevention Day" in the City of Williams Lake

6) Council proclaimed September 2010 as "Big Brothers & Big Sisters Month" in the City of Williams Lake

Council members gave oral reports on issues/events occurring in the City

Meeting adjourned at 6:50pm

Calls get louder for free vote in BC Legislature on HST

Today, Vancouver Province political columnist Micheal Smyth calls on BC Premier Gordon Campbell to have a free vote on the HST in the BC Legislature. See more here

Over at the Vancouver Sun, political columnist Vaughn Palmer talks about how the BC Liberals' allowed the 'Zalm to come back and embarass the provincial government. See more here

Hon. Ben Stewart responds to my previous letter on City of WL 2009 Annual Report

On June 23rd, I wrote to the Hon. Ben Stewart (Minister of Community & Rural Development)detailing concerns I had with the City of Williams Lake actions' on the 2009 Annual Report

See my letter to Minister Stewart here

On August 10th, Minister Stewart replied with the following, with a copy going to both City of Williams Lake Mayor Kerry Cook & Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett:

Dear Mr. Forseth:

Thank you for your email of June 23, 2010 regarding your concern about the release of the 2009 Annual Report for the City of Williams Lake (City)

Sections 98 & 99 of the Community Charter (Charter) require that the annual report be presented at a public meeting before June 30th, 2010 and that it be available for public inspection for at least 14 days before the public meeting. The meeting itself must be advertised, in a newspaper that is distributed at least weekly, once a week for two consecutive weeks

The main objectives of these sections of the Charter is to ensure that information is shared with the public in a timely manner following the City's year end. While the deadlines are set out in legislation, and I am sure that all local governments strive to meet them, there are a few local governments each year that are unable to do so. I am sure that any discrepancies are unintentional and the City is working to comply with the legislative requirements

I understand some of the staff at the City are new and may not have been aware of all o the legislated deadlines. Ministry of Community and Rural Development staff have spoken with the City about the concerns you have raised and have provided them with information about the annual reporting requirements

Thank you, again, for taking the time to write and express your concerns

However, I would personally note that the Annual Report requirement of the Community Charter has been in place since 2004. Brian Carruthers, the City's current CAO, has been part of the Senior Management Team at Williams Lake City Hall for quite a while, even back in the day when he was the City's General Manager of Community Services & Alberto DeFeo was the City's then-CAO. I find it unbelievable that he wouldn't be aware of the City's responsibility under Section 98 & 99 of the Community Charter. Even an casual observer of Council meetings would know that by observing what Council does on the Annual Report and what is in the local papers and put two & two together

This is another reason why I believe Williams Lake City Council erred in not externally advertising the CAO position

Monday, August 23, 2010

Tolko-Soda Creek Division shutdown temporary....?

Senior WL City Councillor Surinder Rathor talks about his hope that the shutdown starting today at Tolko - Soda Creek Division will be very temporary

See more here

Fight HST & Hypocrisy

Various media is reporting this morning that Fight HST has fired off a letter to BC Premier Gordon Campbell demanding that he allow a free vote on the HST in the BC Legislature this fall

See the letter from Fight HST to BC Premier Gordon Campbell here

But it seems to me that it is at the height of hypocrisy for FightHST to demand a free vote immediately on the HST when it was the same group demanding the Select Standing Committee on Legislative Initiatives to take up their HST Bill & Petition, even after Elections BC said it couldn't send the Petition to the Committee while the Petition was being debated in the BC Supreme Court. Fight HST even said it would send the Petition & their HST Bill directly to the Committee because Elections BC refused to do so

Either they respect the entire process or they don't but they can't have it both ways - talk about having your cake and eat it too.....

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Williams Lake City Hall efficient......?

Earlier this evening, I sent a email message to all members of Williams Lake City Council regarding a concern I had with regard to new public updates on the Mackenzie Avenue Rehab Project (FYI - the last update from the City on this project was Thursday, August 5th)

The message I sent to Williams Lake Council was:

As you all are aware, the City had been up to August 5th sending out weekly updates on the progression of the Mackenzie Avenue Rehab Project but I’ve seen nothing since then. I did recently discuss this matter with the CAO (Brian Carruthers) and he advised that he was looking into the matter. However, as a matter of principle, just because an emergency exists either in the City or close by, the residents’ expect/require that the City is still able to deal with routine business. I ask you to look into this matter and ensure that regular updates on the progression of the Mackenzie Avenue Rehab Project continue ASAP. In addition, I found out, the hard way, that access to Mackenzie Avenue from Rose, Boundary, Pine and Maple Streets were blocked, due to paving on Mackenzie Avenue, and the general public was entitled to that information so they could plan alternate routes accordingly.

I've since received an answer from Williams Lake City Councillor Geoff Bourdon, who states:

As for the interruption in reporting, that is proof that the city is running as efficiently as it should be. We should not have so much free time that we can take on the biggest natural threat that the City has ever faced and still be able to continue all other business as usual.

Now - unless I was assaulted while I was reading this.....what Councillor Bourdon is saying is that there is no issue here. I have replied to him stating that the public, for the $3.5 million borrowed for the Mackenzie Avenue Rehab Project, is entitled to know what is going on, and if the City can not handle multiple situations at once then it is up to Council to reduce the number of tasks on Staff so that they can do multiple things (emergencies & routine business) without either suffering

Quesnel Council Highlights - Aug 16th meeting

“Spot zoning” process approved"

Council approved adding residential use to the existing commercial zoning for six properties in the 500 block of Reid Street. The residential properties were “upzoned” to C3 (Central Business District Commercial) in the mid-1980s (meaning the properties have a potential higher use for redevelopment.) Council approved to have residential use added for those properties. The change will require a zoning bylaw amendment and provisions added to the Official Community Plan.

Quesnel Airport gets new equipment

The City received a $157,750 grant from the Airports Capital Assistance Program to pay for a wet/dry chemical spreader. The machine spreads de-icing and anti-icing chemical on the runway, apron and taxiway at the Quesnel Regional Airport. The grant pays 100 per cent of the equipment’s cost.

ESS volunteers praised

Council took a moment to thank the team of Emergency Social Services volunteers and staff. The ESS team has been very busy helping evacuees from a number of local areas affected by forest fires. It was mentioned that many positive comments have been received regarding not only the efficiency of the service, but the empathy with which it is delivered

Quesnel ready for Open Doors

A celebration of Quesnel’s art, culture and heritage called Open Doors is set for Aug. 21 , 2010. Visitors are invited to several downtown sites of historical interest that will feature special exhibits, demonstrations by local artists, readings and musical performances. Open Doors runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., followed by a guided tour of the pioneer cemetery at 1 p.m.
Visit http://www.quesnelmuseum.ca for a list of locations and events. There is no admission fee

New community walk added

Council was advised of a new community walk that’s been added to the Walk Quesnel program. The new walk takes place in West Quesnel, leaving Wilma Hansen Park on Wednesdays and Fridays at 7 p.m. The walks have been coordinated by Quesnel Leisure Services to encourage residents to walk for fitness, fun, and friendship. The walks last 45 minutes at a moderate pace. The other walks are:
• Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, leaving the Arts and Recreation Centre at 7:30 a.m.
• Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Tuesdays at 8 a.m., departing from Dragon Lake School

Other News

The bursary award winners for 2010 were provided for Council. Daniel Santos was the recipient from Correlieu Secondary School, while Rhiannan Willett was the recipient for the McNaughton Centre. Each student received $800 for post-secondary education.
• The Miss Quesnel Self Development Program 2010 royalty were introduced to Council. This year’s Miss Quesnel is Lauren Perdue. She was joined by princesses Daveen Panasar and Tanis Petrin. The Miss Quesnel royalty act as community ambassadors, travelling to special events. They also travel to a number of functions out of town to represent Quesnel.
• In response to this year’s exceptionally warm and dry summer, the City of Quesnel has brought water restrictions into effect. Lawn or garden watering may only take place from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. or 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Odd-numbered street addresses may only water on odd calendar dates, while even-numbered addresses may only water on even dates. The restriction is placed as a precautionary measure to avoid undue stress on the City’s water system.

Important Dates

September 3 - 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. - Fire hall #1 Open House
September 4 - 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. - Parade and muster of fire apparatus from across B.C. in support of the Quesnel Volunteer Fire Department’s 100th anniversary.

Future Council Meeting Dates:

Next Delegation Meeting:
Tuesday, September 7

Next Regular Council Meeting:
Monday, September 13

Next North Cariboo Joint Planning Committee Meeting
Tuesday, September 14

Next Committee of the Whole Meeting:
Monday, September 20

City of Quesnel 2010 Strategic Goals

The City of Quesnel has released its' 2010 Strategic Goals

See here for the 2010 Strategic Goals

Evac Alert & Local State of Emergency rescinded in the City of Williams Lake

From the City of Williams Lake:

The City of Williams Lake is announcing that the Evacuation Alert in the northwest portion of the City and the State of Local Emergency Declaration have both been cancelled due to diminished threat to life and property from the Meldrum Complex of fires west of Williams Lake.

“I am pleased to be rescinding the Evacuation Alert and State of Local Emergency today, allowing our community to resume business as usual.” states Mayor Kerry Cook. “This has been a challenging week for many residents of the City and surrounding area and it is encouraging to see the change in weather and reduced fire threat in the region.”

The Emergency Reception Centre at Williams Lake Senior Secondary is being closed today with only 20 evacuees currently registered. The Canadian Red Cross, Salvation Army and Emergency Social Services support teams are in the process of returning to their communities and their assistance has been greatly appreciated by the evacuees and local volunteers.

“The cooperation and collaboration of all levels of government and the various partner agencies in managing this emergency has been absolutely amazing and I am proud of how our community has risen to the challenge and supported all of those in need during these recent days and weeks.” states Mayor Cook

Saturday, August 21, 2010

City of Quesnel & CUPE 1050 Labour Contract Dispute

Earlier this year, the City of Quesnel & CUPE Local 1050, which represents Quesnel municipal workers commenced negotiations for a new collective agreement as the existing collective agreement expired in June of this year

Both sides agreed that, during negotiations, no comment would be provided to the media

During May, the City & CUPE Local 1050 met for 5 days to commence negotiations. At the end of the day, the City presented CUPE Local 1050 with its' final offer, which primarily consisted of a wage package of 0% in year one, 1% in year two and 2% in year three with also a benefit increase of 0.5% during the first year

On June 2nd, CUPE 1050 held a meeting with Quesnel Mayor Mary Sjostrom and 1 Quesnel City Councillor to get talks back on track. As well, the CUPE 1050 membership held a vote on the City's final offer which was rejected by 76 of the 91 people who came out to vote

At this point, the City of Quesnel has successfully applied to the LRB (Labour Relations Board) for an Essential Services Order (you can read the LRB Order here) while CUPE Local 1050 has applied for mediation. No word yet if CUPE Local 1050 got its' request approved. There is a meeting of CUPE Local 1050's membership tomorrow (Sunday, August 22nd) at the Quesnel Sandman Inn, starting at 3pm to presumably discuss next steps

However - it seems to me that the City is trying its' very best to negotiate a collective agreement while taking into consideration the principle of "ability to pay". I would note that the BCGEU (BC Gov't Employees Union) recently settled a 2 year agreement with the BC Public Service consisting of no wage hikes through June 30th, 2012. As well, CUPE 1050 would do well to remember that with the permanent closure of Northstar Lumber, the City of Quesnel lost $1.2 million of assessment and the possibility of more sawmill closures or temporary shutdowns is possible

I would encourage CUPE Local 1050 to back off the rhetoric of "hidden agendas & worse municipal deal in BC" & the advertising of direct contact info for Quesnel Mayor & Council and to roll up its' sleeves and get back to the bargaining table with the City of Quesnel to hammer out an collective agreement & to keep in mind the state of the local economy while negotiating a new collective agreement with the City of Quesnel

Info on Quesnel Muncipal Workers Dispute:

CUPE 1050 - http://www.cupe1050.com/
City of Quesnel - http://www.city.quesnel.bc.ca/negotiations.asp

Another Warning from CRD EOC to not re-enter Evac Order areas

From the CRD EOC, via Williams Lake Tribune - (Note - please heed these warnings from the CRD's EOC as they have very good reasons to keep residents out while trying to put these forest fires out):

The Cariboo Regional District is reminding residents who have been evacuated from areas within the Pelican Complex that Evacuation Orders must be respected and re-entry to an order area is not permitted.

The EOC has received several reports of people entering the Evacuation Order area; these people are hampering fire suppression efforts and endangering firefighters.

When you are asked to leave, follow the directions given to you by the RCMP or Search and Rescue teams, or those provided by an automated telephone message. Do not, under any circumstances try to re-enter the area via side roads or alternate routes through the backcountry.

Those who decide to stay against an evacuation order may not have the availability of emergency services in the event that the fire reaches their property or cuts off escape routes. There will also be no opportunity for emergency rescues as this requires emergency personnel to put their lives in danger.

Tips for a successful School Year

The Province has come forward with some tips for having a successful school year

Before School Year Starts (Sept 7/2010):

* Check what time your child’s classes start. Students in different grades may start at different times.

* Get your children used to the back-to-school routine before the first day of school by having them shift to their school bedtime and wake-up routine the week before school begins.

During the School Year:

* Make sure your children eat breakfast every day so their minds have the fuel they need to learn.

* Keep nutritious snacks, like cut-up fruit and vegetables, cheese sticks, low-fat yogurt and butter-free popcorn on hand to make healthy eating easier.

* Schedule regular dental and any necessary medical checkups for your children.

* Ensure your children’s backpacks are no more than 10 to 20 per cent of their bodyweight and that your children use both shoulder straps.

* Make sure your children know safe routes to and from school. Start a Walking School Bus or Bicycle Train program in your neighbourhood, or find out how your children can join an existing one.

*Limit your children’s screen time. Explain to your children that it's important to sit less and move more in order to stay at a healthy weight

Update from City of Williams Lake on Wildfire Situation

From the City of Williams Lake:

The City is hoping for some relief for its residents this weekend as temperatures cool and the intensity of adjacent fires decreases. The EVACUATION ALERT in the northwest portion of the City remains in effect and will be reviewed by the Ministry of Forests and the Joint Emergency Operations Centre over the weekend with consideration of weather and fire behavior. The fire is still 8km west of the Fraser River and no other evacuation ALERTS or ORDERS are in place within the City.

The City will be involved in the Joint Emergency Operations Centre throughout the weekend and all contingency plans are in place with staff and resources on stand-by in the event the situation changes in the coming days.

Mayor Kerry Cook is grateful for the assistance of the community in dealing with this challenging situation. “I have been impressed and moved by the outpouring of support by our volunteers, citizens, businesses, media and MLA Donna Barnett as we host hundreds of evacuees from throughout our Region. I am also proud of the efforts of our staff at the City, CRD and partner agencies in managing this significant event.” states Mayor Cook.

Current fire information can be obtained at www.bcwildfire.ca and current evacuation information at
http://www.cariboord.bc.ca/ or by calling the Emergency Operations Centre at 250-392-4283 or 250-392-3286.

Friday, August 20, 2010

HST Battle News...Next Steps at the BC Legislature

On Friday, the BC Supreme Court gave its' official blessing to sending the HST Initiative Petition to the Legislature & the Standing Committee on Legislative Initiatives. You can read the Court's decision here

Also - the Acting Chief Electoral Officer of Elections BC (Craig James) will be formally submitting the following letter & HST Initiative Petition to the Standing Committee on Legislative Initiatives on Monday, August 23rd as follows:

"Pursuant to section 10 of the Recall and Initiative Act (Act), I have now determined that an initiative petition issued to William Vander Zalm on Tuesday, April 6, 2010 has met the requirements of s. 7 of the Act.

I have further determined that the proponent, Mr. Vander Zalm, has complied with Part 4 of the Act.

Accordingly, as mandated by the Act, I am enclosing a copy of the petition and draft Bill”

The next step now is for the Select Standing Committee on Legislative Initiatives to formally meet to consider the Petition and Mr. James's letter. They have 30 days to meet, which means the Standing Committee must assemble not later than September 23rd and make a recommendation to the BC Legislature not later than December 23rd to introduce the HST Extenguishment Act or refer the HST Initiative Petition back to Elections BC for the conduct of a Province-wide Referendum on September 24th, 2011.

Members of the Select Standing Committee on Legislative Initiatives (10 MLA's) are as follows:

BC Liberals:

Dr. Terry Lake (Standing Committee Convener) - Kamloops-North-Thompson
Eric Foster - Vernon-Monashee
Dave Hayer - Surrey-Tynehead (Parliamentary Secretary for Multiculturism)
Richard Lee - Burnaby-North
Pat Pimm - Peace River North
John Slater - Boundary-Similkameen (Parliamentary Secretary for Water Supply and Allocation)


Mike Farnworth (NDP House Leader & Opposition Critic for Public Safety) - Port Coquitlam
Jenny Kwan (Opposition Critic for Small Business)- Vancouver-Mount Pleasant
Katrine Conroy - Kootenay-West
Rob Fleming (Opposition Critic for the Environment) - Victoria-Swan Lake

So - BC Politics will certainly stay exciting to watch this fall including recall campaigns starting as soon as November 15th, 2010

Local Government Meetings in Cariboo-Chilcotin - Week of August 23-27

There are four local government meetings' this week:

Monday, August 23rd - City of Quesnel

Quesnel Council is holding a Special Closed (In-Camera) Meeting at Quesnel City Hall (410 Kinchant Street)

Tuesday, August 24th - City of Williams Lake

Regular Meeting which starts at 6:00pm in Williams Lake Council Chambers (450 Mart St)

See the Agenda/Reports here

Special Committee of the Whole Meeting which starts following adjournment of the Regular Council Meeting. This meeting is being held in Williams Lake Council Chambers

See the Agenda/Reports here

Thursday, August 26th - Board of Education of School District #27

Special Meeting which starts at 1:00pm in the Board of Education's Boardroom on 2nd Avenue in Williams Lake, beside Marie Sharpe Elementary

See the Agenda/Reports here

Provincial Arts Funding

This morning, there's a story at CBC-BC's website where the Canadian Conference of the Arts calling BC's cuts to arts funding a "strategic error". You can read the story here

What I find unfortunate is Arts Groups calling decreasing arts funding by Victoria/Ottawa "deplorable". I think that Arts Groups, like other groups, need to remember that there is only 1 taxpayer and they can only give so much to Victoria/Ottawa so it behooves the provincial/federal governments to spend that money is the best way they can and if that means certain groups get less money then in times past, so be it, from my perspective.

Anti-HST Petition officially goes to Victoria

The BC Supreme Court has now officiallly cleared the way for the BC Legislature's Standing Committee on Legislative Initiatives to formally consider the Anti-HST Petition, reports CBC-BC's website

It'll now be interesting to see how this development plays into possible recall campaigns as of November 15th

As they say....stay tuned!!!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Public Info Meeting at WL City Hall on Wildfire Situation - Afternoon Session


CRD Area ‘D’ Director Deb Bischoff
City of WL CAO Brian Carruthers
City of WL Mayor Kerry Cook
City of WL Councillor Laurie Walters
Rick Roy – Shaw Cable
Cpl Marc Menard – Williams Lake RCMP
CRD Chair Al Richmond (entered meeting at 2:40pm)

80+ Members of the Public

Meeting called to order at 1:58pm

Mayor Cook gave opening comments and reviewed the current situation on weather & local fires including review of current evacuation alerts or orders

A Question/Answer Period ensued

Questions included:

• Evac Alert and those working in the City and arrangement/care of animals before properties go to Evac Order
• Status/Area of Meldrum Creek Complex Fire
• Air Quality issues in the City
• Access to Hospital restricted due to smoke
• State of Local Emergency declared in the City
• State of Municipal Infrastructure in case of loss of power
• Evac Plan in case of Evac Order declared in City of WL
• “1-Number” Phone System to contact those under either evac alert or evac order
• Best Method to get updated info on Wildfire Situation
Website – http://www.cariboord.bc.ca/ or Phone – (250) – 392-4283 or (250) 392-3286

Meeting adjourned at 3:00pm

Public Info Meeting at WL City Hall on Wildfire Situation - Morning Session


City of WL CAO Brian Carruthers
City of WL Mayor Kerry Cook
City of WL Councillors Laurie Walters & Natalie Hebert
CRD Area ‘D’ Director Deb Bischoff
CRD CAO Janis Bell
CRD Chair Al Richmond (entered meeting at 10:25am)
Corporal Marc Menard – WL RCMP
80+ Members of the Public

Meeting called to order at 9:58am

Mayor Cook gave opening comments including updated fire info - fire has not crossed the Fraser River

An Question and Answer Period ensued:

Questions included:

* Weather & Fire Situation
* Relative Humidity & Fire Situation
* Update on Dog Creek Rd Fire
* Update on Emergency Planning from City perspective
* 752 people registered through WL ESS
* Update on Fires near Rudy Johnson Bridge area & Meldrum Creek Rd
* Update from Guenter Weckerle (Woodland Manager - West Fraser) on fire preparations at West Fraser Plants in Williams Lake – North Mackenzie Avenue end.

* Accurate Fire Info
Website - http://www.cariboord.bc.ca/ or call (250) - 392-4283 or (250) - 392-3286

* Highway #20 Closure Update
* Registering via ESS online - Mayor Cook and City of WL CAO B. Carruthers to see about possibility on this item
* Mayor Cook reviewed what to do during an Evac Alert & Evac Order

Meeting adjourned @ 10:55am

CRD Board Meeting on August 27th postponed

I have been informed that the Cariboo Regional District (CRD) Board of Directors' meeting that was scheduled for next Friday (August 27th) has been postponed until Thursday, September 2nd at 9:30am in the CRD Boardroom due to the wildfire situation and the current use of the CRD Boadroom by the CRD Emergency Operations Center

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

City of WL & CRD to host Public Info Meeting on Wildfire Situation

From the CRD Emergency Operations Center:

The City of Williams Lake will hold two public open-house information sessions on Thursday, August 19th with respect to the current adjacent fire activity and the evacuation alert within the City of Williams Lake. The sessions will take place from 10:00am to 11:00am and again from 2:00pm to 3:00pm in Williams Lake City Council Chambers. Mayor Kerry Cook, CRD Chair Al Richmond and Emergency Operations Centre officials will be in attendance to provide up to date information on the current evacuation alert and the City's level of preparedness should the wildfire situation threaten the City and surrounding area. The public are welcome to drop in at any time during these sessions.

Mayor Kerry Cook advises "The City wants to ensure our citizens are well-informed during this challenging event. Accurate information is critical to ensure that rumors are dispelled and citizens have an opportunity to prepare themselves accordingly."

Up to date information on local fire situations and evacuations can be obtained from the City of WL/CRD Joint EOC at www.cariboord.bc.ca or by calling 250-392-4283 or 250-392-3286.

Review of COW Items

As I noted last night, there was no Committee of the Whole meeting, due to the developing fire situation close to the City boundaries

However, for my blog readers, I thought I would take a moment to review the Agenda Items and indicate what Council would have been considering Tuesday evening:


1) Fred McMechan/Sue Hemphill from Scout Island Nature Centre were to ask Council to endorse a request for $40,000 in joint financial support (City of WL/CRD) to Scout Island. Their rationale for their request is that their operating costs have gone up and noted the Museum of the Cariboo-Chilcotin gets joint funding and Scout Island should get similar consideration. This request was likely to be referred to the Central Cariboo Joint Committee. See Mr. McMechan's letter here and see City Councillor Natalie Hebert's Portfolio recommendation on this item here

2) Ken Day (UBC-Alex Fraser Research Forest) was to appear before the Committee to review the Draft Statements of Intent, with regard to the local community forest. See the Statements of Intent here

3) Imogen Thompson (City's Greenhouse Gas Planning Technician) was to review with the Committee the final numbers on the Greenhouse Gas Inventory - see her presentation here


1) 2nd Quarter Report - read the report here

Major Highlights:

* 40.7% of Revenue received as of June 30th, 2010
* 25.4% of Expenses accounted for as of June 30th, 2010
* Courthouse Square Project over budget by $3,740 at June 30th, 2010
* New Firehall Project over budget by $171,845 as of June 30th, 2010. City Staff project that an additional $20,000 needed to finish the New Fire Hall project
* Review of Mayor & Councillors' Expenditures dated June 30th, 2010 (half-way through City's 2010 Fiscal Year)

Mayor Cook - Budget of $10,600 with $5,133 left available
Councillor Barr - Budget of $6,360 with $4,792 left available
Councillor Bourdon - Budget of $5,560 with $5,103 left available
Councillor Hebert - Budget of $5,560 with $5,990 left available (refund from UBCM Registration)
Councillor Rathor - Budget of $5,560 with $4,861 left available
Councillor Walters - Budget of $5,560 with $4,877 left available
Councillor Zacharias - Budget of $5,560 with $5,800 left available (refund from UBCM Registration)

Total for Mayor & Councillors Travel & Expenses Budget for 2010 - $44,760 with $36,556 left available or Council has used 18.33% of their overall travel & expense budget for 2010 as of June 30th, 2010

2) 2010 Interim Financial Statements - read the statements here

Review of City's Financial Numbers as of June 30th, 2010 for all City of WL Funds (General, Water, Sewer, Airport, etc)

3) Integrated Community Sustainability Plan - Adopting of ICSP - read the ICSP Final Document here

This ICSP Final Plan is a coronation of the work done in the community on the ICSP over the last year. This document will be used to measure the City's work to make this community the very best it can be

4) Expansion of Williams Lake HandyDART Service in September - read the CAO's report on this item here

Major Points:

* Cost to implement for remainder of 2010 - $7,000
* Cost to implement in 2011 - $16,000
* Cost to homeowner in 2011 - $1.05 per $100,000 of assessment, on basis of land & improvements

I'm personally disappointed in this report for three reasons:

1) No formal request from Accessibility Committee directly to Council on need to expand HandyDART
2) No appearance of coordination between City/CRD on HandyDART, given the CRD is going to be having a referendum on HandyDART & Transit on September 25th
3) This request should be evaluated in the context of a full 2011 Budget

Mid-Week News

CONIFER (Bargaining Agent for local sawmill companies) and Steelworkers Union reach tenative agreement for a new labour contract - see more here

The City of Williams Lake has jointly issued, with the Cariboo Regional District, an evac alert for the Mackenzie Avenue Industrial Area (in north end of the City) and Soda Creek Road area - see more here

Tolko - Soda Creek Division will be shutting down as of Monday for 2 weeks, due to poor lumber market conditions. See more here

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

No Committee of the Whole/Special WL Council Meeting

Tonight's Williams Lake Committee of the Whole Council & Special WL Council Meeting were both cancelled, due to a developing fire situation close to the City.

Both meetings will be rescheduled on a future date

Monday, August 16, 2010

Cariboo Regional District Emergency Ops Center Website

The Cariboo Regional District Emergency Operations Center has a website for all of the latest information of the evacuation orders or alerts with regard to the wildfire situation, here in the Cariboo-Chilcotin

The website address is:


Use this website to get timely & accurate information on evac orders & alerts and don't depend on Facebook, friends or other sources for evac orders & alert info

HST Court Battle Begins...

Today, the courtroom battle over the future of the HST Initiative Petition & the HST itself began in the Vancouver Supreme Court

A week has been set aside to hear legal arguments for and against the HST Initiative Petition and the constitutionality of the HST

The business group spearheading the court case has stated it will not appeal the judge's ruling if it is not in their favour

See the CBC-BC story here
See the Vancouver Sun story here

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Community Gaming Grants Announced in Cariboo-Chilcotin

The Hon. Rich Coleman (Minister of Social Development & Housing) has announced community gaming grants for the Cariboo-Chilcotin and here are the amounts by community:

Quesnel Total: $122,000

Biathlon Society of British Columbia, $21,000
North Cariboo Gymkhana Society, $2,100
Quesnel Aquatic Club, $8,900
Quesnel Curling Club, $7,500
Quesnel Lacrosse Association, $5,300
Quesnel Pony Club, $1,200
Quesnel Team Roping Club, $2,000
Quesnel Technics Gymnastics Club, $17,400
Quesnel Youth Soccer Association, $56,600

Williams Lake Total: $17,500

Special Olympics BC Society - Williams Lake, $6,600
Williams Lake Bighorns Lacrosse, $5,300
Williams Lake Wrestling Club, $5,600

100 Mile House Total: $55,000

100 Mile House & District Figure Skating Club, $10,000
100 Mile Minor Hockey Association, $42,000
British Columbia Special Olympics - 100 Mile House Local, $2,000
108 Mile Ranch - South Cariboo Rowing Club, $1,000

Friday, August 13, 2010

Local Government Meetings in Cariboo-Chilcotin - Week of August 16-20

There are a number of local gov't meetings occuring this week in the Cariboo-Chilcotin:

Monday, August 16th - City of Quesnel

Regular Meeting which starts at 7:00pm in Quesnel Council Chambers (410 Kinchant Street)
The Agenda/Reports are here (Please note - there is an In-Camera meeting scheduled to occur following adjournment of the Quesnel Council Meeting - August 16th)

Tuesday, August 17th - City of Williams Lake

Committee of the Whole Meeting which starts at 6:00pm in Committee Room #1 at WL City Hall (450 Mart Street)

See the Agenda/Reports here

There is also a Special Council Meeting which will commence immediately following adjournment of the Committee of the Whole Meeting. See the Agenda and 1 Report from City of WL Staff here

HST Battle News....Committee Review Stage Phase

Wow, lots of news out there about the next stage of the Great HST Debate (notwithstanding the court challenge next week):

See the Vancouver Sun editorial here

See the press release from FightHST.com on submitting directly the HST Initiative Petition to the Select Standing Committee of Legislative Initiatives here

See the letter from Bill Vander Zalm (Fight HST Chief Proponent) to Kamloops-North Thomspon MLA Dr. Terry Lake (Convenor - Select Standing Committee on Legislative Initiatives) here

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Recall Campaigns should worry the BC Liberals

Earlier today, Radio NL's website (http://www.radionl.com) was reporting that BC Premier Gordon Campbell doesn't appeared to be worried about recall campaigns against BC Liberal MLA's as of November 15th

He should be extremely worried as the likely scenario will see recalled BC Liberal MLA's replaced with new BC NDP MLA's.

I certainly hope the BC Liberal government changes its' tune on recall and start to take the matter more seriously otherwise they may very well find itself in opposition and before 2013 for that matter

Free Tours of Gibraltar Mine

The Williams Lake & District Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Gibraltar Mines Ltd, will be offering free public mine tours on Wednesday, August 18th and September 1st. The tour bus leaves Williams Lake at 10:00am and returns at around 3:30pm

There is age and clothing restrictions. Call the Chamber at 250-392-5025 as space as limited

Personally, I plan on attending 1 of these tours as two members of my cousins' families both work at Gibraltar Mines

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Update to Community Arts Council debt to City of Williams Lake

In early January 2010, at a Committee of the Whole meeting, Williams Lake Council considered a report from the City's CAO regarding the outstanding debt of the Community Arts Council of $9,163 to the City

Then at the January 26th, 2010 Williams Lake Council Meeting, Council passed Resolution #23/2010:

That pursuant to Committee of Whole Council Report #5-2010, the report of the Chief Administrative Officer dated December 8, 2009 and the report of the Community Arts Council of Williams Lake with respect to their financial status be received and Staff discuss with the Community Arts Council a strategy to reimburse the City for outstanding rent and report back to Council; and further, approval be given for occupancy of studio space in the old Fire Hall for the Spinners/Weavers, Potter's Guild and Artists Society and office space for the Community Arts Council at a rental rate to be negotiated and approved by Council.

Given it was just over 6 months since this Council Resolution was passed, I asked Brian Carruthers, the City CAO what has taken place, with regard to this Resolution via email on Friday, August 6th

Late Wednesday, August 11th, I received the following email from him:

The Arts Council has made a proposal to the City to settle their debt and it has gone to both Finance and Community Services Portfolios. We are waiting for the 2 Portfolios to have a joint meeting but with summer vacations, that hasn’t happened yet. I trust that answers your question

Now, we don't know yet what the actual proposal that the Community Arts Council made to the City on their outstanding backrent at the former Heritage House of $9,163 but I look forward to seeing this proposal. In the meantime, I intend to see Williams Lake City Councillor Tom Barr and suggest to him any arrangement that sees less than the full $9,163 paid back that the Arts Council owes City taxpayers' is unacceptable to me as 1 City taxpayer

HST Initiative Petition Passes

Bill Vander Zalm and the Fight HST team were successful in getting the HST Initiative approved but Elections BC says it won't send the petition to the Legislature until all court challenges, with regard to the HST Intiative Petition, have been settled

The Fight HST Team has stated publicly this evening that it will seek a court order directing the Acting Chief Electoral Officer to send the Petition to the Provincial Legislature Standing Committee on Legislative Initiatives. As well, Bill Vander Zalm stated that recall campaigns will commence as of November 15th

The court case to quash the HST Petition will proceed during the week of Aug 16-22 in Vancouver Supreme Court

See the Globe and Mail Article here
See the CBC-BC TV video clip here

Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex shuts down for Annual Maintenance

From the City of Williams Lake:

Be advised that due to major mechanical upgrades occurring this summer, the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex will be closed for the followed dates:


Fitness Centre Shutdown
Monday, August 16 – Sunday, August 22

Pool Shutdown
Monday, August 16 – Sunday, September 12

Facility CLOSED Saturday & Sunday August 21 – 22


Administration Office Hours
Monday, August 16 – Friday August 20
8:00 am – 5:00 pm

Monday, August 23 – Sunday, September 12
Regular Hours Apply

Fight HST team set to announce whether or not their petition is successful

FightHST will announce at 5:30pm today whether or not the HST Initiative Petition that was forwarded to Elections BC in late June has passed

My guess - Fight HST will announce it is successful and call on the Campbell government to withdraw the HST

Provincial Government response - yes, we screwed up on the implementation of the HST, but the HST stays

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

WL Council Meeting Highlights - August 10th


Mayor Cook & Councillors Barr, Bourdon, Hebert, Rathor, and Zacharias


Councillor Laurie Walters

Staff Present:

Brian Carruthers - CAO
Rena Schill - Corporate Services Records Management Coordinator
Tom Chung - Manager of IT
Geoff Goodall - General Manager of Planning & Operations
Annie McKitrick - Acting Manager of Social Development
Randy Isfeld - Director of Protective Services (Fire Chief)

Meeting called to order at 6:00pm

Council adopted the July 20th meeting minutes


1) Gurbax Saini, on behalf of the Guru Nanak Sikh Temple Society, appeared before Council asking it donate 15 truckloads of recycled pavement for a project at the Guru Nanak Sikh Temple on Mackenzie Avenue
2) The City's Director of Protective Services (Fire Chief) Randy Isfeld appeared before Council to discuss the City’s emergency management plans, should the need to activate them ever arise


1) Council approved travel for Mayor and Councillors’ to attend the 2010 UBCM (Union of BC Municipalities) Annual Convention from September 27th to October 1st, 2010 at the Whistler Conference Centre in Whistler, BC.

2) Council approved the following request list of UBCM Provincial Minister meetings to be held at the 2010 UBCM Convention:

• Minister of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development - Labour Market Development & the Mining Sector
• Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General - Crime
• Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources – Prosperity Mine
• Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure – Mackenzie Ave/Highway 20 Intersection & Toop Rd and 11th Ave Intersection
• Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts – Station House Gallery
• Minister of Health Services or Interior Health – Youth addictions, Cariboo Memorial Hospital Master Plan, Drugs & Alcohol, Crime & Abuse

3) Council awarded the supply and installation to upgrade the existing dehumidification system at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex to Fraser Valley Refrigeration Ltd. for the bid price of $57,692

4) Council approved the 2010 Terry Fox 5 km and 10 km Walk, Run or Bike Event on Sunday, September 19th, 2010. Mayor Cook or her alternate will be present to officially start the event

5) Council denied the request of Jake Ilnicki in his letter dated August 5, 2010 for financial sponsorship to the National Rugby Festival in Calgary, AB from August 12 to 17, 2010

6) Council received for information the report of the City’s Fire Chief regarding an overview of the City's emergency services mandates and preparedness for the current fire activity around our community

7) Council gave Zoning Amendment Bylaw #2119, 2010 (Westridge Ventures Ltd) second reading. The Public Hearing will be held on this application on Tuesday, September 7th, 2010 at 7:00pm in Council Chambers.

8) Council awarded the contract for the supply and installation of traffic signal light modifications at the intersection of Second Avenue and Oliver Street to Michael's Electric HDD for the bid price of $131,258

9) Council received a letter from the Williams Lake Stampede Association requesting authorization to erect an 8' by 8' Campground Sign West of the Welcome to Williams Lake / Rick Hansen sign site on Highway 97 South. Council will forward a letter to the Stampede Association advising them to contact the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure for approval. Council will forward a letter to the Ministry to support the Stampede Association’s sign application, in accordance with the Ministry of Transportation’s policy on signage

10) Council received the report of the General Manager of Planning & Operations regarding parking at Big Mama’s Steakhouse and the owner of Big Mama’s will be encouraged to acquire property to expand their parking lot. Council will also write to the Ministry of Transportation asking they delay implementation of no-parking of Highway 97 shoulders’ until next year so a solution can be found to the parking woes for Big Mama’s Steakhouse

11) Council received for information a report from the Acting Social Development Manager regarding an update on approval of funding from Embrace BC for two community organizations involved in anti-racism projects

12) Council adopted Bylaw No. 2120, 2010 (Williams Lake Mackenzie Avenue Rehabilitation Project Temporary Borrowing)

13) A number of Committee of the Whole recommendations were adopted. Those included:

• Council received a draft Graffiti Bylaw and Staff were requested to prepare a community consultation plan with regard to this Bylaw and to report back to Committee of the Whole
• Council approved criteria for a Toilet Replacement Rebate Program which includes a $100 rebate for a 6 litre low-flush toilet or a $200 rebate for a three and six litre dual flush toilet with a maximum of two rebates per household
• Council authorized the use of the Williams Creek Valley West of the City's Sewage Treatment Plant for the dewatering of the plant's anaerobic cells
• Council authorized for sale of any surplus reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) materials from the Mackenzie Avenue Rehabilitation project at the following rates:
$5/Tonne for Non-Profit Organizations;
$10/Tonne for Small Volumes (5 Trucks Loads or Less); and
$7/Tonne for Large Volumes (Greater Than 5 Truck Loads

And Non-Profits receive up to 15 Truckloads of RAP free of charge – Councillor Hebert was opposed

• Council authorized Staff to establish a Heritage Registry and approval was given to place the ‘Station House Gallery’ on the Heritage Register. A Heritage Committee will be set up for review and consideration of future heritage registry items and other related heritage issues within the City of Williams Lake including the possible placing of ‘Potato House’ on the Heritage Registry

14) Council will enter a team in the 4th Annual "Scramble for Literacy" golf tournament at the Williams Lake Golf & Tennis Club on Saturday, August 14, 2010 and Council challenged City Staff, Firefighters and RCMP members to enter teams as well; and further, the community was encouraged to participate in this fundraising event.

15) Council received a letter from the South Cariboo Labour Council regarding support for a Resolution passed at the 2010 Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Convention calling for expansion of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) by increasing seniors' Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) by 15%. Council will also write a letter in support of the FCM Resolution to increase the GIS by 15% to the Provincial/Federal Finance Ministers

16) Council received a letter from the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) requesting support to improve the Canadian Postal Service Charter

17) Council gave approval to close the alley below Oliver Street which connects Third Avenue South and Fourth Avenue South for the Williams Lake & District Boys and Girls Club’s Annual Youth Street Party on August 13, 2010 from 5:00 PM to 11:00 PM

18) Council will write letters of support to the CRTC (Canadian Radio-TV & Telecommunications Commission) for both the renewal of Shaw Cablesystems G.P. cable license and for Shaw to acquire Can-West Global

19) Council proclaimed all Fridays’ as Red Fridays in support of the Canadian Forces and the community was asked to wear red on Fridays in support of the Canadian Forces

Meeting adjourned at 8:00pm and Council then went into an closed meeting, in accordance with Section 90(1g – litigation, potential or actual) of the Community Charter

Williams Lake RCMP in provincial news

Both the Vancouver Sun & Province are running stories about a man strapped to a chair in a Williams Lake RCMP cell

Vancouver Sun story here
Vancouver Province story here

The City of Quesnel & Contract Negotiations

Earlier today, the City of Quesnel clarified its position on the final offer given to CUPE Local 1050 Union except the employees working at the Quesnel & District Arts and Recreation Centre - see the press release here

Also, see the City's detailed final offer to CUPE here

Here, in Williams Lake, the contract between the City and its' unionized employees does not expire until 2012

Sikh Community at WL Council Meeting tonight

As a last-minute delegation request, Gurbax Saini, on behalf of the Guru Nanak Sikh Temple Society, will appear before Williams Lake City Council tonight requesting that Council approve a request to donate 15 truckloads of RAP or recycled pavement for a project at the Guru Nanak Sikh Temple on Mackenzie Avenue. See the letter from the Temple Society here

I'm told that if Council denies their request, it would be another "nail in the coffin" for Mayor Cook's bid for a 2nd term.

It'll be interesting to see how Council deals with this matter

Letter from 5 Local Governments to Ottawa on Prosperity Mine

On July 28th, the CRD Board authorized the Board Chair to go to Ottawa with Williams Lake Mayor Kerry Cook & 100 Mile House Mayor Mitch Campsall, with Quesnel Mayor Mary Sjostrom to join in remotely, to meet with Cariboo-PG MP Dick Harris on Prosperity Mine the following week (Aug 3 - 6)

However, in view of the wildfires in our region, the local governments chose to send a letter instead addressed to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Cabinet and MP Dick Harris presented this letter to the Federal Conservative Caucus meeting on Thursday August 5th

See the letter here

HST Battle News... Part 2

In today's Vancouver Sun, Political Columnist Vaughn Palmer talks about the conversation between Elections BC + Fight-HST team - See here

Globe and Mail is running a story about Elections BC will release the details about whether or not the HST Intiative Petition is successful to Bill Vander Zalm only - see here

*** Reminder - the HST Initiative Petition Court Case is set for 10:00am on Monday, August 16th in BC Supreme Court in Vancouver. This will be interesting to see how the judge rules on this case ***

Also - Interesting site on Recall Campaigns for Provincial MLA's - see at http://recallinthefall.net

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Parking at Big Mama's Steakhouse - Williams Lake Council Agenda Item

On Tuesday, Council will receive a report from Geoff Goodall (General Manager of Planning & Operations) detailing what options are available to Council with regard to parking at Big Mama's Steakhouse (formerly Bil-Nor Restaurant). This matter was last discussed on Tuesday, June 29th at a Committee of the Whole Meeting. Read the report here

The Ministry of Transportation has told the owners' of Big Mama's Steakhouse that a "no-parking" zone on Highway #97's shoulders', near their business, will be enforced in mid-September.

This is a no-win for Council as Council has no jurisdiction to set parking areas along Highway 97 and residents' probably would not be thrilled about Council setting up an underpass, estimated at $1 million dollars, especially to assist only one business and no real justified benefit to the area and reducing the speed limit near Big Mama's Steakhouse will not solve the issue around parking for this business.

We'll see on Tuesday what Council will do with this topic.....

Direct Link to Williams Lake Council Agendas

On Friday, I put a direct link to the City of Williams Lake Council Agenda. It is under "Political Links" on the right-hand side of my blog - it is titled "City of Williams Lake Council Agendas"

As well - Williams Lake Council is meeting on Tuesday, August 10th. See the Agenda/Reports here. The Cariboo Regional District Board, Quesnel and 100 Mile Councils' are not meeting this upcoming week (Aug 9-13).

Quesnel Council will meet on August 16th, 100 Mile and Williams Lake Councils' meet on August 24th and the Cariboo Regional District Board meets on August 27th

Friday, August 6, 2010

Anahim Chief Joe Alphonse decries management of forest fire situation

CKNW reports that Joe Alphonse, TNG Tribal Chief & Anahim Band Chief is not happy how both Victoria & Ottawa have handled the evacuation situation, due to the smoke, at the Anahim Reserve

See more here

Also - Global BC has more on this story here (scroll to 18:00 in the video player to see this story)

WL RCMP asks motorists to avoid Highway 20

Williams Lake RCMP are asking the travelling motorists to avoid use of Highway 20, if at all possible, due to smoke and the fact Highway 20 is presently being used for fire-fighting needs

See more here

BC Recreation Sites Closure List

The Province has a listed of closed recreation sites, due to the provincial fires. This list is updated daily, as necessary. There are 6 BC Recreation Sites closed in our region

See the list here

Federal Cabinet Mini-Shuffle

This morning, Prime Minister Stephen Harper shuffled 3 Cabinet Posts:

John Baird - from Transport to Government House Leader
Chuck Strahl - from Indian Affairs & Northern Development to Transport
John Duncan - from Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs to Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

See more here

Cariboo Memorial Hospital restricts access

From Interior Health:

Cariboo Memorial Hospital wishes to advise residents that it is limiting hospital visitors until further notice due to the smoky conditions in and around Williams Lake.

While services are not being restricted at this time, we ask that you do not come to the hospital unless you have an emergency or have a previously scheduled appointment.
The air inside the hospital is being impacted by the smoke outside, causing the hospital to turn off external fans and keep all doors and windows closed as much as possible.

Hospital administrators are monitoring the smoke and fire situation and will continue to keep you updated.

Use common sense regarding outdoor physical activity – if your breathing becomes difficult or uncomfortable, stop or reduce the activity. Residents affected by the poor air quality are advised to remain indoors with the windows closed to reduce exposure to the outside air.

Residents with asthma or other chronic illness should activate their asthma or personal care plan.

If necessary, see your physician or healthcare provider. Anticipate using more medication/inhalers during this period of poor air quality, and ensure you have an adequate supply.

For general information about smoke and your health, contact HealthLink BC available toll free, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 8-1-1.

Log on to www.bcairquality.ca or call (250) 952-2039 for the local air quality index.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Letter to CRD Board re: Proposed Governance Function in 2011

Earlier today, I authored a letter to the Cariboo Regional District (CRD) Board concerned with their proposal for a new Governance Function for 2011. This Function, if it proceeds, will pay for the expenses of all 16 CRD Directors - all 12 Electoral Area, or Rural, Directors and the 4 Muncipal Directors from Williams Lake, Quesnel, 100 Mile and Wells. This Function will also be paid for by all taxpayers - rural and urban in the Cariboo Regional District.

See below for the letter. I'll update my blog when I receive a response. I hope the CRD Board will consider my letter at their Aug 27th meeting:

Dear Chair Richmond and Directors:

Re: Proposed Governance Function in 2011

At the Cariboo Regional District’s (CRD) Policy Session Meeting of June 10th, 2010, the following Resolution was passed:

PS.10-06A-9 Moved Director Armstrong; Seconded Director Dumaresq:

“That the memorandum dated June 1st, 2010 from Janis Bell, Chief Administrative Officer,regarding governance costs, be received. Further, that the Board direct staff to create a new governance function for 2011 to cover the expenses related to directors’ participation at the Board table utilizing the tax base of the entire regional district.”

Carried Unanimously

It is my view that the Board erred in passing this Resolution as it is primarily intended to assist the District of Wells with their expenses to come to Williams Lake to participate in CRD Board meetings. Let me explain why I think this is wrong

Firstly, I would like to take the opportunity to thank Janis Bell, your CAO, for sitting down with myself in July to brief me on what Board Resolution #PS.10-06A-9 is intending to do.
When we have talked about establishing a Function in the Cariboo Regional District in the past, typically that meant, consulting the public, the Board giving 3 readings to a Function Establishment Bylaw, a public assent process (Counter-Petition or Referendum) is undertaken and the Board adopting the Function Establishment Bylaw, provided the public assent process is successful

However, during my meeting with Ms. Bell, she explained that what is intended with Board Resolution #PS.10-06A-9 is the creation of a new Budget Line inside the Administration Function entitled “Governance” to pay for the expenses of all 16 CRD Directors – 12 EA Directors & the 4 Muncipal Directors

Secondly, I am personally opposed to Board Resolution #PS.10-06A-9 and here’s why. In June of 1998, the District of Wells was formed and thus, no longer was Wells a community inside Electoral Area ‘C’. When that occurred, the District of Wells assumed its’ responsibilities to pay for Muncipal services by way of an annual budget & annual property tax bylaw and to pay its own way to the CRD Board table, just like the District of 100 Mile and the Cities of Quesnel and Williams Lake now do.

I am not opposed to using the entire tax base of the Cariboo Regional District to subsidize Electoral Area Directors’ to be at CRD Board meetings however I am opposed to this principle being applied for municipalities and their appointed CRD Directors as the CRD serves as local government for the 12 Electoral Areas

In 2003, the municipalities of Quesnel, Williams Lake and 100 Mile House were asked to help subsidize expenses for the District of Wells to come to Williams Lake to attend CRD Board meetings. However, Quesnel, Williams Lake and 100 Mile House Councils’ respectfully declined to subsidize the District of Wells expenses to come to Williams Lake to attend CRD Board meetings

However, the Electoral Area Directors agreed to subsidize the District of Wells’ expenses to attend CRD Board meetings for a period of time that, I believe, ran from 2003 until 2008.

If we are truly interested in solving the District of Wells’ issue around attendance at CRD Board meetings, certainly, I would not be opposed to one of the following options being implemented. Those options could include:

a) District of Wells de-incorporating and becoming a community inside Electoral Area ‘C’ once again
b) District of Wells indicates how many CRD Board meetings in a year that they are able to personally attend and participate via teleconference for the remainder
c) CRD Board installs web cams in the Boardroom in Williams Lake and the District of Wells’ Director drives to Quesnel to participate in CRD Board meetings from the CRD Office there. In addition, this may be a bonus for the Chilcotin Directors’ who face a significant drive to Williams Lake and Highway 20 is not the most pleasant road to drive in the winter

Please Note –Development of a Board policy around how a CRD Director(s) would qualify for remuneration/expenses if they participated in a Board meeting via webcam or teleconference should be considered

I would also note that Area ‘F’ Director Duncan Barnett warned the Board in 2007 that Horsefly may try to separate from Electoral Area ‘F’ and become its’ own municipality. Please note – Horsefly has close to 1,000 residents whereas Wells only has 250 and is the Board really willing to look at this issue on a “one-off” basis?

The Board should not subsidize those communities who do not do their homework beforehand and look at all the costs of becoming a municipality including participation at the CRD Board table, Council & Staff Administration, provision of municipal services, etc.

I respectfully ask the Board to rescind CRD Board Resolution PS.10-06A-9 and assist the District of Wells in its’ participation at the CRD Board by looking at non-taxation options.

Thank you for your consideration in this matter